Steven Bryson: Science is for Everyone

Some footage used in this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and may not depict social distancing measures.

Transcription – Steven Bryson- 2021 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence

[A photo, with voice over. Photo: A man looking at a globe. Music playing]

"One thing that I found is really challenging this year is helping my students develop their skills of self-efficacy."

[Close up of a man in an interview setting. Music playing.]

"I feel like part of the problem that we've been going through in the pandemic is that, you know, there's no – nothing normal. It's been really hard to kind of work on some of those skills."

[Fade to white with a medium shot of man, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left: Steven Bryson, St. Mary's High School, Kitchener, Ontario. Cut to close-up of Steven in the interview setting. Music playing.]

"I've taken a real interest in storytelling recently."

[Fade to black and then up to Steven in the interview setting.]

"So using storytelling can be a really effective way to not only teach curriculum but teach ideas that – and concepts related to the curriculum."

[Cut to photo, with voice over. Photo: Steven conducting a science experiment.]

"So for example my grade 9 Science class I'll talk about Maria Mendeleev, who is Dimitri Mendeleev's mother and the incredible journey she had to go to find schooling for her son."

[Cut to Steven in the interview setting.]

"I try to make science engaging. I try to make the topics that I'm talking about engaging for them."

[Fade to black and then up to Steven in the interview setting.]

"So, in the classroom I would generally say I'm pretty energetic in terms of my teaching style. I want the students to know how much I love my career. I want students to know how much joy there is in learning science. And I want my students to know how much I care about them. I really want them to answer difficult questions. I really want them to answer difficult questions. I don't necessarily always tell them the answer. I mean a lot of the way is kind of lead them towards the answer."

[Cut to photo, with voice over. Photo: Steven dressed for Halloween holding a pumpkin.]

"One of the great things about being an educator is that you get an opportunity to help students develop both inside the classroom and the person that they eventually become."

[Cut to Steven in the interview setting.]

"I really feel a tremendous responsibility to help my students see what's out there for them, see the greater world and see the opportunities that are there, not just within the school but in greater world outside."

[Fade to black and then up to Steven in the interview setting.]

"I mean the KW region is one of the fastest growing tech sectors in Canada. So with this in mind in the summer of 2017 I developed an idea which eventually became Innovation Week, which took place at my hold high school, St. Mary's, over the past four years."

[Cut to photo, with voice over. Photo: Steven in science class standing in front of a desk with flames.]

"So in lieu of going to a class, a student can sign up for a workshop in a field that they were interested in. There were also larger scale presentations by aerospace engineers, forensic biologists, as well as there's fun lunchtime activities for students."

[Cut to Steven in the interview setting.]

"And I think students really appreciated the opportunity to interact with some of these leaders and community members on a personal level."

[Music ends. Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Year: 2021 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient

St. Mary's High School
Grades 9 to 12 – science
Kitchener, Ontario


“Mr. Bryson has made me the student I am today by inspiring me to continue my studies in science, specifically chemistry. He provides engaging and creative ways to teach science to students and allow for a growing interest in the subject. He is also a role model in my studies and in my future career goals pursuing chemistry and possibly teaching the next generation of scientists.”

former student

Teaching Approach

Steve continuously demonstrates his expertise in digital literacy and its application in the classroom, as well as his innovative teaching practices with an emphasis on sharing this with colleagues, and a focus on student success and skills development. His unwavering commitment to the students, parents, staff, coupled with his leadership in innovative teaching practices, extend beyond the school and has had a positive impact on the community and across the province.

In the Classroom

Within his classroom, Steve uses a variety of instructional techniques to engage his students. He understands that providing multiple learning opportunities can lead to greater understanding and he stays at the cutting edge of research in instructional pedagogy. He is a strong proponent of inquiry-based learning and uses this method of instruction on a consistent basis. He enjoys enhancing lessons by adding excitement and real-world application to learning. For example, instead of designing, drawing and constructing simple series and parallel circuits, Steve challenges his students to create a floor plan for their ideal home, and draw the electrical wiring for that home using a 3D cardboard model. These tweaks to the curriculum help students develop a solid understanding of concepts and increase their enjoyment of the subject.

Outstanding Achievements

Steve is the visionary and team leader of St. Mary’s Innovation Week. What began with a few businesses showing students how they incorporate innovation, resiliency and problem solving turned into an entire week with lectures and workshops presented by industry and academic leaders. The Week provides numerous learning opportunities to support students’ personal and academic growth. Participating STEM-related industries include Perimeter Institute, ClearPath, and Aeryon, along with organizations such as Conestoga College, and the University of Waterloo. These events allow students to become more aware of STEM careers and involve them in activities that integrate STEM with the arts.

In addition to his work inside the classroom, Steve has published a book entitled ‘Marcus and Me: My Introduction to Stoic Philosophy from Rome’s Greatest Emperor’. The title might sound quite academic but this is a fictional book written for adolescents. The main character uses universal principles such as perseverance, self-reliance, and a positive attitude to overcome the obstacles in his life.

Steve works collaboratively with teachers and students to enrich learning opportunities. He has recently initiated science lessons for Special Education students who are in school all day and struggle with engagement during COVID restrictions.

These achievements make Steve not only an exceptional teacher but an exemplary member of our community.

Get in touch!

St. Mary's High School
1500 Block Line Road
Kitchener, ON  N2C 2S2
Twitter: @St_Marys_Kitch